Friday, August 3, 2012

New Dilemma

Got an email begging for help from the new Fruit Studies director. They hired a lecturer soon after hiring me as a postdoc and I guess that person has just announced getting a full-time position somewhere else. Humph. Where's my 11th-hour tenure track job offer?

Anyway, this means the 5 classes that person was teaching are now in the lurch, and are packed to the gills. I've been asked to take on a 5th class, at a percentage rate of my current salary instead of a flat 500 or whatever, and the director swears that would be more money.

Hmph. I'm leaning towards taking it, just to be nice. But damn that's gonna be a lot of extra grading. It won't be any extra prep since they would hand me another section of the same Fruit Studies class (the introduction) and this is the one I have honed to a fine instrument of ... uh, frutification or whatever. Man, that metaphor fizzled out in the middle of the process.

And remember how I just went shopping and spent a lot of money I didn't have? Yeah, having some extra cash would be a big help. But that is going to make my 4-classes-intense-job-market-push-plus-research-and-revise-the-book fall schedule go up into the insane category. Damn. But on the other hand, I picked up the end of a crazy class situation last fall and survived --- and that included being completely unprepped, having people lose the graded materials and assignments, and coming in after at least four or five different subs who all promised totally different things for dealing with that prof's illness.

Maybe if I cut back on the number of little assignments for the class ... or the comp classes. But those are what whip the students into some semblance of shape! I wish I knew what was the bare number of homework assignments and in-class writing exercises that require the book I need to assign before these students get the idea they have to buy the book and actually bring it to class. Will ponder.

In other news, not only are all of the journals I thought of using word count limits of about 9,000 instead of 12,000 words, they all require MLA style, not Chicago. Grarh! I'll look around a bit more for other potential journals.


Bardiac said...

I HATE having to switch around citation formats. HATE!

It's good to have a choice about the class.

Belle said...

1) I know there are software programs that can do the switch thing.
2) Can you explain the situation to the new FS director, and ask if this would help in getting you a TT spot with them? I mean, if you explain that your hesitation is based on the fact that you are applying for TT spots in FS... maybe that would make a difference?

Contingent Cassandra said...

I'd think twice, and ask some tough questions, along the lines that Belle suggests. Unless there's a chance that you'll be with this department long-term, in a TT position (and it doesn't sound like that's the case), then you really need to put your priorities first. Money is certainly one, but there are other ways to earn money, many of them easier/more efficient than teaching. Experience is another, but it doesn't sound like taking this class would allow you to add anything new to your c.v.

So, is it really worth it? Perhaps you should be spending the time with Floyd, the monster-in-progress (whose name I forget at the moment; sorry), and/or your job materials instead?

Asking you to teach the class is the easy way out for the department (and, to be fair, a responsible way to serve their students by hiring an experienced and competent teacher for the spot). But they do have other options: hiring an adjunct, taking on an overload themselves, canceling the class. All of those are viable options.

Of course you want to be collegial, but I've seen enough, in enough different departments, to say with some conviction that such collegiality is rarely rewarded (and, to generalize just a bit, is the sort of sometimes self-defeating behavior that women seem more prone to than men). You might actually get more respect for saying "I'm sorry, but I'm on the job market, with an article in revision and a book manuscript in process; I just don't have the time."

I'm not sure it should work that way, but I fear it does.

Anonymous said...

RE: Fruit Studies - IF you want to do this (and I think that Belle and Cassandra make good points about why you might not want to jump at this "opportunity"), you are in a position to negotiate. If the director is that desperate, you seriously can negotiate. You can be nice and ask for 10 percent instead of 8 percent (just as an example). Seriously: if they are that desperate, they can find the money. Or, at least, you can try to negotiate and then reevaluate if they tell you that they are unwilling. I personally would not advise you just to say yes without some back and forth. Seriously? Being "nice" here isn't going to do anything for you in the long term, but it will do everything for them. At the very least, you will know that you're getting the best possible deal if you negotiate rather than just taking the first offer.

RE: Floyd, I kind of hate that journal, and I have for the most part not found articles published in it terribly useful or interesting, regardless of the "cool" factor. As much as reformatting sucks, well, I think there are other better homes for your work. Really.

Anonymous said...

EndNote will change your citation/footnote/etc format for you at the click of a button.

Listen to Cassandra, for she speaks wisely! Sometimes you don't need that little extra money as much as you need your sanity (and your time on the manuscripts).

Dr. Koshary said...

And, to add my two cents on the back of nicolandmaggie's, Zotero will also swap around your citation format at the click of a button. And, unlike EndNote, Zotero is free. (Have you seen what EndNote costs nowadays?)

I can't say I know a lot about the negotiation situation, but I'd be leery of accepting that job, even with a money boost. Surely your long-term career will benefit more from the roaring success of Voltron than the extra class.

Shane in SLC said...

Didn't you write a post a few months ago wishing that you had a more stable relationship to your university--a three-year rolling contract, or something that would give you more predictability than a year-by-year renewal situation? Maybe this is the time to push for that, since Crazy is right--you have all the leverage. Tell them that until you have some stability for the next 2-3 years, you need to focus all your extra time and effort into publishing and finding a TT job...